Personality, negative affect coping, and drinking alone: a structural equation modeling approach to examine correlates of adolescent solitary drinking

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Abstract

Aims

This study examined the personality traits of negative emotionality and constraint and the ability to resist drinking during negative affective states as correlates of solitary drinking in adolescence. We hypothesized that higher levels of negative emotionality and lower levels of constraint would predict solitary drinking and that these relationships would be mediated by the ability to resist drinking in response to negative emotions.

Design

Structural equation modeling was used to fit a path model from the personality traits of negative emotionality and constraint to solitary drinking status through intermediate effects on the ability to resist drinking during negative emotions using cross-sectional data.

Setting

Clinical and community settings in Pennsylvania, USA.

Participants

The sample included 761 adolescent drinkers (mean age = 17.1).

Measurements

Adolescents completed the Lifetime Drinking History, the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire, the Constructive Thinking Inventory and the Situational Confidence Questionnaire.

Findings

The path model provided a good fit to the data. The association between trait negative emotionality and solitary drinking was fully mediated by adolescents' ability to resist drinking during negative affective states (b = 0.05, P = 0.01). In contrast, constraint had a direct effect on solitary drinking (odds ratio (OR) = 0.79, b = –0.23, P<0.01), as well as an indirect effect through the ability to resist drinking during negative affective states (b = –0.03, P = 0.02).

Conclusions

The ability to resist drinking while experiencing negative feelings or emotions may be an important underlying mechanism linking trait negative emotionality (a tendency toward depression, anxiety and poor reaction to stress) and constraint (lack of impulsiveness) to adolescent solitary drinking.

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